With "Lovin' Pretty Women", the Steep Canyon Rangers dig even deeper into a traditional bluegrass sound, but with a sophisticated twist. It's an album filled with the vim and vigor of a band in love with making music. The Rangers have written their own material since they first started jamming together in a stairwell on the campus of UNC. The group is blessed with artistic vision, a gift for songwriting and an intense desire to create their own unique sound. That's why the Rangers have been able honor the bluegrass masters who came before while nudging the genre forward in new and exciting ways.
"Traditionally, bluegrass bands have gotten by playing all the standards," says Sharp. "Most of those songs have all been done and they've been done really well. Why try to recreate something that you can't outdo? So that was our motivation to just be original. It gave us the opportunity to figure out how to be unique within a format steeped in tradition."
The new album showcases a band at the top of its game, whether dipping their banjos and guitars in the gospel water of "Be Still Moses" or telling stories from the coalmines in "Call The Captain" and "Cumberland Moon." The Rangers' compelling harmonies throughout are testament to the band's belief that the voice is as vital a musical instrument as anything with strings.
Whether they're "Lovin' Pretty Women" or making new fans all over the world, there s one thing the Steep Canyon Rangers will definitely be doing creating timeless acoustic music that honors tradition, while boldly moving it into the future.
The Steep Canyon Rangers are part of a new wave of young bluegrass bands that specialize in tearing it up. They concentrate in turning the energy up past hot to fricassee...Some bluegrass bands...are great vocalists who also happen to be good pickers, while others... are hot players who can sing. The Steep Canyon Rangers sit smack in the middle of these two camps....I m pretty confident in stating that the Steep Canyon Rangers are going to be even more successful due to Lovin' Pretty Women. --Vintage Guitar Magazine, October '07
The stuff American success stories used to be made of a bunch of college pals form a band and become the genre's newest break out act. Accenting voice as much as instrumental prowess, this is what separates them from the rest of the pack. That, and they choose to do different material than what has already been done by everyone. The spark ignites. On their second [sic] album, they still have the fresh vibe in tact and can relate to country audiences as well as jam band audiences. They just might well be the new standard bearers of acoustic music. --Midwest Record, June 23, 2007
"I have seen the 'Rangers' live more than a few times. Much to our pleasant suprise, we shared a stage at a festival with them in Wyoming recently. I found their music to be thought provoking, creative, and energetic. The Steep Canyon Rangers, collectively and individually, are wonderful pickers and singers. Witnessing their comittment to honor the tradition of a true american art form, bluegrass; and their uniquely youthful Carolinian voice is a joy for not only the audience, but other musicians as well." --John Cowan